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Jack Miller

MPhys (Hons), DPhil

Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am an interdisciplinary medical physicist who uses Magnetic Resonance techniques to non-invasively probe metabolism in living systems, ranging from isolated enzymes to human beings. 

My research uses low temperature quantum mechanics to transiently make stable isotope labelled metabolites highly visible to magnetic resonance techniques like NMR spectroscopy and MRI. By injecting labelled metabolites into living systems it is possible to observe their subsequent spatial, temporal, and biochemical behaviour, all three of which are altered in different states of health and disease. The technique in question, known as Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation (DNP) overcomes the fundamental thermodynamic limitations of conventional magnetic resonance, and essentially forms a birth of a new medical imaging technique. While conventional MRI can non-invasively provide vast quantities of anatomical information, linking this with the molecular biology of the cell is highly challenging. DNP provides direct evidence of the rate of specific chemical reactions in tissues, non-invasively and in a rapid period of time. 

In 2017, I was lucky enough to become a Novo Nordisk Fellow, and am looking at the cardiac effects of type two diabetes, the canonical metabolic disorder. Many people with type two diabetes have worse outcomes following cardiovascular events, and are more likely to have cardiovascular events when compared to the population as a whole, and the mechanisms behind this phenomenon are not fully understood. My Novo Nordisk funded research aims to both probe and quantify metabolism in the diabetic heart, and see if promising novel therapies alter both the cardiac phenotype and disease progression. 

I work predominantly with Prof Damian Tyler in both the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, where we perform pre-clinical experiments, and in the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research in the John Radcliffe Hospital, where we undertake human studies. I am also an academic visitor in the Department of Physics, and teach undergraduates as a Stipendiary Lecturer in Physics at St Hugh's College. From October 2017, I am also lucky enough to be a Junior Research Fellow in the Medical Sciences at Wadham College

For further information, including a current list of publications and contact details, please see my personal website